Predicting the future with The Jetsons

Posted by David Konow

With the Jetsons, Hanna-Barbera offered a delightful vision of the future that not only still holds up, but also managed to predict at least some of the technology we have today.

Obviously we don’t have flying cars just yet, yet as we saw on the show even that didn’t eliminate rush hour traffic, but what about the rest of it? Robotic housekeepers, 3D TV, video chat, an early version of Google called RUDI, the Referential Universal Digital Indexer and more.

I was reminded of all this when the Hollywood Reporter recently ran a story about the Jetsons celebrating its 50th anniversary. The show debuted on September 23, 1962 on ABC, and it surprisingly only lasted one season, but as the Reporter tells us, it really became popular in re-runs on the following year, 1963.

Like The Flintstones, the Jetsons were a prime time show, playing Sundays at 7:30 P.M., before it was retired and screened Saturday morning. The Jetsons, like The Flintstones, had a great theme song, and like the ‘Stones, The Jetsons also ended the same way every show. Where Fred Flintstone always got locked out of the house and was screaming at Wilma to let him back in, George is caught on a fast moving treadmill, trying to walk the family dog, Astro, while screaming at his wife, “Jane! Stop this crazy thing!”

Watching the Jetsons today, I was surprised that the show holds up pretty well, and it’s enjoyable for both adults and kids. Perhaps it holds up better because it was for a prime-time audience, and it’s also amusing to see how Hanna-Barbera envisioned the future way back in the early sixties, when we were first starting to explore outer space.

As we previously reported on TG, there’s also hopes of reviving the Jetsons again for the big screen. Van Robichaux and Evan Susser, a hot young writing team, are currently working on a script, and they got a lot of attention in the biz for writing an unproduced comedy called Chewie, which is about the making of Star Wars from Chewbacca’s point of view.

Whether a new version of the Jetsons will try and envision the future a hundred years from now, or recreate the retro vision of the future we saw in the cartoons, it would be nice to have them back again.